Old Ponte Vedra

Located in Northeast St. Johns County, Old Ponte Vedra is not a community in the traditional sense.

Rather, it is a portion of Ponte Vedra Beach defined by the county line on the north, Corona Road to the south and San Juan Drive, Pablo Road and Le Master Drive on the west that local residents refer to as “Old Ponte Vedra”. The centerpiece of the neighborhood is the five-star resort – Ponte Vedra Inn & Club.

A pristine wilderness of sand dunes and palmettos in the early 1900s, and a mining town during World War I, Ponte Vedra Beach blossomed into a playground for the privileged in the 1920s. It was then that forward-thinking local planners developed the area to maximize its natural beauty, transforming it into a nationally recognized and fashionable seaside community. What was once a sleepy stretch of beach is now known as Money Magazine’s “Best Place to Live in Florida” and is named one of the top fifty places to live in the United States.

Located eighteen miles southeast of downtown Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach is an upmarket tourist resort best known for its association with golf. It is the headquarters of both the Professional Golfers Association, which hosts the Players Championship tournament, and the Association of Tennis Professionals which brings more national and international attention to the area. Ponte Vedra boasts a population of well over 28,000 and growing. Six country clubs offer 153 holes of golf; tennis aficionados may choose from 60 courts of all kinds including, clay and grass and there are more on the way. And of course there are the miles of unspoiled beaches.

Historical Significance

This community has a rich history — the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon landed here in the early 1500s on his quest to find the Fountain of Youth. He then sailed a few minutes south to what is now the historic city of St. Augustine, which offered a better place to harbor his ships.

By the early 1900s, the area had become a mining town, and by the late 1920s, National Lead Company, the owner at the time, decided to convert the area into a resort. This is also when Ponte Vedra Beach was given its name — previously the area had been called Mineral City after the mining work being done there.

In 1942, Telfair Stockton purchased the entire area for what a single beachfront lot would cost on today’s market. After World War II, beachfront property became popular, and new highways gave greater access to what had once been a fairly remote resort.

There is a book entitled Ponte Vedra Beach – A History

written in 2008 by Maurice J. Robinson, a Ponte Vedra Beach resident. It begins with the following quotation attributed to Harry Johnson:

“If I should go to heaven, which I much doubt, when St. Peter lets me walk through the Pearly Gates, I’m sure that I will look around and say, St. Peter, I’m disappointed. I used to live in Ponte Vedra.”

More Information About Old Ponte Vedra

Old Ponte Vedra Beach real estate is 18 miles southeast of downtown JacksonvilleA pristine wilderness of sand dunes and palmettos in the early 1900s, and a mining town during World War I, Ponte Vedra Beach blossomed into a playground for the privileged in the 1920s. It was then that forward-thinking local planners developed the area to maximize its natural beauty, transforming it into a nationally recognized and fashionable seaside community. What was once a sleepy, twenty-eight mile stretch of beach is now known as Money Magazine’s “Best Place to Live in Florida” and is named one of the top fifty places to live in the United States.

Located eighteen miles southeast of downtown Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach is an upmarket tourist resort best known for its association with golf.  It is home to the  ATP Tour, the PGA Tour and The Players Championship played each May at the TPC Stadium course at Sawgrass Players Club.

Ponte Vedra Beach real estate located next an AAA Five Diamond Resort, The Ponte Vedra Inn & ClubThe Ponte Vedra Inn & Club is a AAA Five Diamond Resort located on a sparkling stretch of the Atlantic coastline in the fashionable seaside village of Ponte Vedra Beach. This elegant 300-acre resort and spa is 18 miles southeast of downtown Jacksonville and 25 miles north of historic St. Augustine.

Guests arrive near the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club’s manicured front lawn, which doubles as a putting green. A luxurious spa sits on 3 acres of the grounds alongside 2 18-hole golf courses and an advanced tennis center. Elegantly appointed rooms at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, most with ocean views, feature original artwork, custom furnishings and furnished patios or balconies.

The grand resort life began in 1928 with the opening of the lavish Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. For more than three quarters of a century, fortunate guests have departed with fond memories of fabulous meals, unsurpassed ambiance and first-class service. Celebrities, heads of state and business leaders lead the long, glamorous list of clientele, who return for the inn’s sun, sand and laidback luxury.

Ponce de Leon first made landfall on Ponte Vedra Beach real estate!The Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, in his quest for the fabled Fountain of Youth, first made landfall at present day Ponte Vedra Beach. He records landing at Latitude 30 degrees, 8 minutes north on April 2, 1513. Seeking a better harbor for his ships he sailed on to what was to become St. Augustine.

Ponte Vedra lay somnolent for many years until the beginning of the twentieth century. With war in Europe imminent, a great need for rare trace minerals arose. Henry Holland Buckman III, a recent graduate of Harvard in electro-chemical engineering, had discovered quantities of these minerals on the beaches near his home in Pablo Beach (now Jacksonville Beach). Joined by George A. Pritchard, a mining engineer, they founded a company to dredge a 17 mile stretch of beach between Pablo Beach and St. Augustine they had acquired. The operation began on a small scale, but soon expanded with roads being built to carry out the ilmenite, silicate, zircon and rutile needed for the war effort.

A community sprang up around the operation and by 1918 the official name of Mineral City was given the settlement. Buckman and Pritchard sold out their interests in the company to National Lead Company in 1922. The end of the war and cheaper sources of the minerals slowed production to a standstill by 1928.

National Lead Company had built a log club house, a golf course and polo field for its employees and their families. This became the nucleus of what was to become an exclusive resort community when National Lead decided to develop the beach properties. Telfair Stockton Co. was contracted to manage the property. All traces of the mining operation were erased, roads were built, lagoons were dredged and the age of resort living began.

The directors of National Lead Company, being smart businessmen, decided that the name “Mineral City” might not be the most attractive for a resort hoping to draw wealthy industrialists from the north. One of the directors had read about a city in Spain called “Pontevedra” that claimed to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus (Actually he was born in Genoa, Italy.) Given the fact that Christopher Columbus was Spanish as was Ponce de Leon who first set foot on the beach, it wasn’t hard for the businessmen to make the connection. And so Ponte Vedra Beach it became.

Ponte Vedra’s development was slowed by the Great Depression. It had just begun to pick up again when World War II literally put the lights out on the community. Blackout curtains and taped-over automobile headlights became the order of the day to stymie the German submarines patrolling off the coast. Ships were sunk within sight of the beaches that at times were blackened with their oil and wreckage. The Intracoastal Waterway had been built in 1908 so that ships used the barrier islands for protection from the prowling subs.

In 1942 four German saboteurs were put ashore in rubber boats at Ponte Vedra Beach as part of Operation Pastorius. They had been preceded by four other Germans who awaited them on Long Island, New York. Their avowed purpose was to blow up military installations and transportation arteries. They were caught, however, before they could do any damage. Six were executed and two imprisoned until after the war at which time they were deported.

Also in 1942 Telfair Stockton bought most of Ponte Vedra Beach for what one ocean front lot would cost on today’s market. After the war beachfront property became in great demand. Highway AIA and the J. Turner Butler Boulevard made the area more accessible. Where there were once only wild palmetto groves and the occasional alligator now stands one of the most beautiful and desirable resort communities anywhere.

Today Ponte Vedra Beach is a mecca for sports enthusiasts. It is the headquarters of both the Professional Golfers Association, which hosts the Players Championship tournament, and the Association of Tennis Professionals which brings more national and international attention to the area. Ponte Vedra boasts a population of well over 28,000 and growing. Six country clubs offer 153 holes of golf; tennis aficionados may chose from 60 courts of all kinds including, clay and grass and there are more on the way. And of course there are the miles of unspoiled beaches.